The increased darkness we experience around us at this time in the northern hemisphere is conducive to pondering some of our deeper questions about life. Questions come whether we’re anticipating a graduation, awaiting some other natural ending and therefore the beginning of something else or are gainfully employed.
In contrast to the darkness let’s consider light. Every plant needs a certain amount of it but not 24 hours every day. Plants also need darkness. When discerning – thinking about my life choices - the light I need could be in the form of researching my options. It could come from reading about what I'm thinking about doing or in talking with someone who has more knowledge of the path I'm considering and then listening to what they can teach or advise me to do. When I get to certain point I might write in order to shed light on what I'm thinking or feeling about each option. Light for discerners becomes insight and gifts of the Spirit, THE guide to wise choices.
If in these days of much physical darkness you find yourself longing for more light (insight) for your future life path, try the activities above. They can bring new wisdom into the struggle with where to go and what to do. Be open when entering into the light of the discernment process and allow the Spirit to work freely with you and your spirit. In the end may you be open to outcome, not attached to an outcome.
If Sister Mariane or I can assist you in this discernment, feel free to contact us. Why not join us for a weekend of discernment March 1-3 to “Come and See for Yourself” where God may be calling you.
May you be persistent in your search,
P.S. Discerning takes time!
An ongoing friendship with God requires our choice to be receptive to God’s hidden closeness in our lives. Auburn Sandstrom told her own true story of openness to the grace of God at The Moth, an organization dedicated to the art of storytelling. In 1992 Auburn was 29, the mother of a three-year-old son, caught in an abusive marriage and an addict. One night she hit rock bottom. She was writhing in pain on the floor of her filthy apartment wrestling with withdrawal from a drug she had been addicted to for several years. In her hand, she gripped a small piece of paper with a phone number on it of a Christian counselor her mother had given her in one of those rare moments of interaction. Finally, in total despair, she called the number. It rang. A man answered.
“Hi, I got this number from my mother. Do you think I could talk to you?”
The man hesitated, “Well, okay, what’s going on?”
For the first time, Auburn poured out her story. She told him that she was hurting, that her marriage was abusive and that she had a drug problem, that she was terrified. The man didn’t judge. He just sat with her and listened. Auburn was encouraged by his empathy and kindness. It was two in the morning. The man stayed up the whole night with Auburn, just talking, listening and being there until sunrise. By morning she had calmed down. The raw panic had passed. She was feeling stable.
She felt thankful, “Hey, I really appreciate what you’ve done for me tonight. Aren’t you supposed to be telling me to read some Bible verses or something? Because that’d be cool, I’ll do it, you know. It’s okay.
He laughed and said, “Well, I’m glad this was helpful to you.”
“No, really. You’re very good at this. You’ve helped me a lot. How long have you been a Christian Counselor?”
There was a long pause at the other end of the line. “Auburn, please don’t hang up.
I’ve been trying not to bring this up.”
“I’m so afraid to tell you this. But the number you called…” He paused again. “You got the wrong number.”
Auburn didn’t hang up. They talked a little longer. Auburn never got his name or called him back. She survived the night. She’s now a successful writer and teacher; she raised her little boy alone to become a wonderful athlete and scholar who graduated from Princeton. She concludes her story of that night.
“…the next day I felt this kind of joy, like I was shining. I think I’ve heard them call it ‘the peace that passes understanding.’ I had gotten to see that there was this completely random love in the universe. That it could be unconditional. And that some of it was for me…In the deepest, blackest night of despair, if you can get just one pinhole of light…all the grace comes rushing in.”*
What has been your “pinhole of light” where grace came rushing in?
*Story found in Connections, June, 2017, 1-2.
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Sister Tarianne DeYonker, OP
Sister Mariane Fahlman, OP
Adrian Dominican Sisters
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Get out your bell-bottoms and platform shoes, because DISCO is here!
Okay, so it's a little less dancing, a little more talking... Sisters Lorraine Réaume, OP, and Sara Fairbanks, OP, have a new video series called DISCO (Discernment Conversations): Dancing with the questions of life!